Recently, my 4-year-old had a rash on her hand and inside one nostril of her nose. At first, I thought she had an allergic reaction to something. I have eczema and usually get a breakout when the season changes or if I am too hot when I sleep. My breakouts occur on the palms of my hands only and go away within a day or so. Hers was concentrated to just the top of one hand and one nostril and was super red and didn’t resemble the eczema I get.
She had a couple of nights of waking from her hand itching and I had to give her Tylenol for the pain/irritation. I also started to apply aloe vera (from the plant) on her skin each night. We had tried Gold Bond cream and Benadryl cream but she said the aloe vera felt the best (nature’s medicine – go figure.).
After about a week of this rash coming and going, I took her to a dermatologist. He informed me that she has sensitive skin and a form of eczema, different from my own. He then proceeded to tell me to only use Dove Sensitive Soap on her body and to avoid shampoos with Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate (SLS/SLES). He also wrote a prescription for special lotion but we opted out with that when the pharmacist rang it up to $500. Ouch. We prayed that the Dove Soap and sulfate-free shampoo would help, because who can afford $500 lotion?
A curious mom I am, of course, I had to Google Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate. Many websites had the same information – that these sulfates can cause mild skin and eye irritation. However, according to Livestrong.com and Mercola.com, they state that SLS and SLES are often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of the manufacturing process that is “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and may also cause negatives effects in the kidneys, liver and central nervous system, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Yikes?!
Going sulfate-free is not a big deal I thought. I have used sulfate-free shampoos in the past and always see them in the stores. But, I never really read the ingredients. There are some sulfate free shampoos, and I say some because I had a hard time finding a shampoo without SLES and SLS and it’s derivative like Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate which needs to be avoided as well, because of the same side effects. And manufacturers can list a product as SLS/SLES free and still have Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate.
I ended up purchasing a shampoo from the SheaMoisture brand. I used this brand’s body lotion when I was pregnant with my second baby and really liked it. After a week of using Dove Sensitive Soap and SheaMoisture SuperFruit Complex Shampoo, my daughter’s skin has improved tremendously! Here’s the proof:
It is ALWAYS good to be an informed consumer. Not only will my daughter be using sulfate-free shampoo, but so will the rest of my family. Because let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound like it is good for any human.